DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa secures Sprint Race victory in Jeddah
DAMS took victory in the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race following Ayumu Iwasa’s excellent drive on the Jeddah streets to earn his third win in the series.
Starting fourth, the Red Bull Junior got a great launch and was second by Turn 1, taking the lead with a decisive move on the second lap. Fending off drivers behind, who had DRS on the long straights of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Iwasa performed superbly to hold the position and clinch victory.
During the Feature Race, both Iwasa and Ferrari Driver Academy member Arthur Leclerc scored points for the French team. The Japanese racer put in another solid showing to stay out of trouble and pick up 12 championship points, while Leclerc used the alternate strategy to good effect, moving up five places and setting the fastest lap in the process, earning a bonus point.
Following the first two rounds of the 2023 F2 season, DAMS sits in third place in the Teams’ standings, with Iwasa also third in the Drivers’ championship.
Ayumu Iwasa:“We didn’t quite have the speed in qualifying but still managed to take sixth place, which gave us an ok position to fight from on both days. I’m really happy with my performance in the Sprint Race, I got a great start and was able to snatch the lead early on. I managed the race well and kept the other cars behind to take the win. Today the pace was solid but not quite good enough to challenge the top three. We know the Feature Race could have been better but we still scored good points for the championship battle.”
Qualifying: 6th | Sprint Race: 1st (+10 points) | Feature Race: 4th (+12 points)
Arthur Leclerc:“It was amazing to drive on this track for the first time, it’s unbelievably fast and great fun! Unfortunately in qualifying we had a bit of traffic and then I made a mistake as the tyres were running out of grip and touched the wall, ending my session. That left us in P13 and in the middle of the pack for the Sprint Race, which meant we had to deal with traffic and constant battling. In the Feature Race we opted to go for the alternate strategy to get some clear air once the super soft runners pitted, which helped us to gain some places and score points. Thanks to the team for their work and looking forward to another new track in Melbourne!”
Qualifying: 13th | Sprint Race: 11th | Feature Race: 8th, FL (+5 points)
Charles Pic, Team Owner:“Ayumu did a great job during the Sprint Race and we’re very pleased for the victory. His start was perfect and he managed to go from fourth to first by Lap 2, which was really impressive and then he defended really well from then on. It’s always tough to lead at this track thanks to the back-to-back DRS zones, but he controlled the race brilliantly. Arthur pushed hard but it was tough in the pack, with so much traffic and constant battling throughout. In the Feature Race, both drivers performed strongly and showed good speed, with Arthur making the alternate strategy work to move into the points. Unfortunately we were a bit slow on Arthur’s pit stop, which cost him a couple of places so we’re sorry for that, although he recovered well to score points and set the fastest lap. The pace of the car isn’t quite where we want it to be yet, but the potential is there from both drivers, so we’ll look to keep building the momentum in Australia.”
Image: Dutch Photo Agency